Thursday, April 16, 2015

Veterinarians, shelters on alert for spread of dog flu

A worrisome strain of dog flu has been spreading throughout the Midwest, with cases already identified in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Local veterinarians and animal shelter workers say they are on the lookout in case the disease spreads here.

So far, the outbreak of canine influenza has sickened more than 1,000 dogs nationwide. Scientists say this strain of flu is different from the one circulating in North American since 2004 and seems to impact dogs in both shelters as well as people's homes.

The respiratory illness causes coughing, sneezing, and fevers. Officials say although the disease is very contagious, there is no need to panic or run to the doctor.

Veterinarians say it is unknown at this time if existing vaccines provide adequate protection against the new form of dog flu.